Main content

Giants boosted by return of gun mid, but Greene still absent

Woosha shuts down Hird talk, Cats change Gaz plan Mitch Cleary with all the latest footy news

GREATER Western Sydney will be boosted by the return of star midfielder Josh Kelly for Saturday's crucial clash with Richmond at Giants Stadium.

But Toby Greene is set to miss another week with a calf issue, and coach Leon Cameron refused to guarantee Shane Mumford an immediate recall despite serving his suspension.

Kelly, who is yet to play a match this year after having hip and knee surgery at the end of last season, will be a welcome addition to a Giants' midfield primed to welcome gun Tigers Dustin Martin, Trent Cotchin and Dion Prestia to Sydney.

FULL FIXTURE Every round, every game

The 2017 club champion and All Australian onballer was close to playing against West Coast in Perth last week, but Cameron said the Giants opted to give him another week of solid training to build his fitness and prepare him for the rest of the season.

Kelly failed to train with the majority of the Giants' squad on Tuesday but will take part in Wednesday's main session ahead of round three.

"Josh is frustrated he didn't play last week but we expect him to step up to the plate, he's in good shape," Cameron said.

"He wanted to play (against West Coast) but the high-performance guys wanted him to do some work and he did a really good session on Saturday.

"All going well he'll play on the weekend."

 

Greene pulled up sore after the club's round one win over Essendon and missed the loss to the Eagles.

Given his recent history with injuries and coming off another limited summer, Cameron said the star forward wouldn't be picked until he was over his calf tightness.

Greene played just nine games in 2018 after a broken toe cost him a large chunk of his pre-season, and he suffered subsequent hamstring and foot problems during the year.

"Like (we did with) Josh we'll probably err on the cautious side and give Toby another week (off)," Cameron said.

WHO MAKES FINALS? Do the 2019 Ladder Predictor

"We need him up and running and playing good footy for two or three months on end, not for two or three weeks like we had last year, then out for two weeks.

"There's no doubt you learn lessons all the time.

"It's a long season, it's a marathon, so we need our players (out there) for the majority of the journey."

Mumford copped a two-game ban from the AFL after a video of the ruckman filmed in 2015 emerged late last year, but he's played for the Giants' NEAFL side in scratch matches over the past month to get some match fitness.

Cameron denied the imposing big man would walk into the team to face the Tigers, with Dawson Simpson performing solidly over the first two games of the season, but it seems highly unlikely that a fit and ready Mumford would spend another week at reserves level.

"He's ready to play AFL footy if we pick him, what we have to determine is whether or not we play Dawson and him, or just Shane," he said.

Listen to the AFL Fantasy Podcast with The Traders at Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

"I thought Dawson was good around stoppages on the weekend so it's not a laydown that he comes in, Shane.

"Dawson's craft is (built) around centre bounces and stoppages, and obviously Shane can do that as well, but in 2016 and 2017 he did go forward when Rory Lobb was here.

"He does go forward and provides a really strong contest, so we'll look at that."

Young defender Sam Taylor should be ready to face Richmond despite failing to finish the round two loss to West Coast with tight hamstrings.

In further good news for GWS, co-captain Callan Ward (knee) could be ready to return in the next fortnight, while key defender Aidan Corr (groin) will return via the NEAFL on limited minutes this weekend.